— J. K. Rowling (via money-in-veins)
African women making change
Margaret Ekpo, Activist, Feminist
Margaret Ekpo (1914-2006) was a Nigerian women’s rights activist and social mobilizer who was a pioneering female politician in the country’s First Republic and was a leading member of a class of traditional Nigerian women activists, many of whom rallied women beyond notions of ethnic solidarity. She played major roles as a grassroot and nationalist politician in the Eastern Nigerian city of Aba, in the era of an hierarchical and male dominated movement towards independence, with her rise not the least helped by the socialization of women’s role into that of helpmates or appendages to the careers of males.
Margaret Ekpo’s awareness of growing movements for civil rights for women around the world prodded her into demanding the same for the women in her country and to fight the discriminatory and oppressive political and civil role colonialism played in the subjugation of women. She felt that women abroad including those in Britain, were already fighting for civil rights and had more voice in political and civil matters than their counterparts in Nigeria. She later joined the decolonization leading National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, as a platform to represent a marginalized group. In 1953, she was nominated by the N.C.N.C. to the regional House of Chiefs and in 1954, she established the Aba Township Women’s Association. As leader of the new market group, she was able to garner the trust of a large amount of women in the township and turn it into a political pressure group. By 1955, women in Aba had outnumbered men voters in a city wide election.
She won a seat into the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in 1961. A position that allowed her to fight for issues affecting women at the time. In particular, were issues on the progress of women in economic and political matters, especially in the areas of transportation around major roads leading to markets and rural transportation in general.
After a military coup ended the First Republic, she took a less prominent approach to politics. In 2001, the Calabar Airport was named after her.
No. They aren’t.
Nope, their not.
If a mixed person chooses to identify as black or mixed black person, cool.
But respect identities.
There’s exceptions to many things of course, especially when it comes to genetics, but I’m thinking that if you’re half black and half white, and you look black and other people see you as black and therefore you inevitably have black experiences, than how can you not identify as black
If someone has another opinion, I would be open to hearing it
Like is the idea that not all mixed people look black and therefore don’t necessarily have black experiences?
or just that not all mixed people are black and white?
You can identify with whatever you like. Mostly this develops from the way a person appears and then is treated. Some biracial ppl are treated black and some biracial ppl are treated biracial. For some biracial ppl they shape their identity based off of outward experiences. My BLOOD cousin looks like a straight up white girl. I mean she don’t have any black features. But her biological father is afro-Brazilian(black). Her mother is Russian. She identifies as biracial.
The issue I have is when you tell me a biracial person is black. But then you tell me they are better than me, bc of them not being 100% black. I’m black and it’s: ok, so what? But if my cousin claimed herself as black it would be: AW SHIT BLACK GIRLS WINNING. YAAAAAAS BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL. OMG YAAAAAS NATURAL HAIR.
Try to tell me I’m lying. Try.
If we keep shit real, the mixing with African slaves was done to create division among the slaves. To dilute the slaves. It was done maliciously. So that’s why biracial is the “acceptable” or “safe black” in America. But there is a huge difference from there being mixed blood in your linage, due to your ancestry; and your parents actually being of two different races. They are not the same thing. There are white ppl with black blood in their ancestry. Ever herd the saying “if a white man shakes his family tree too hard, a nigger will fall out”? That’s not a joke. That’s true.
This whole thread is super intriguing, and of most points made above I agree with Yarrahs-life the most. I felt especially inclined to reblog and make a reply about this since I’m about to start working on a whole series of posts about biracial and blasian people. Above, I highlighted Yarrah’s best points in bold but I think the one that hits the hardest here is: “Some biracial ppl are treated black and some biracial ppl are treated biracial. For some biracial ppl they shape their identity based off of outward experiences." This statement couldn’t be any more spot on. As a biracial person, I do identify with being biracial, or being mixed, but I also identify with being Black and would say that culturally I am Black i.e. these are the habits and traditions that have shaped my personality. On the flip side, even though I affirm with being Black, I’m treated as a biracial which oftentimes means I am being treated better than Black people, which isn’t to my liking but something we (particularly referring to Americans) do subconsciously.
Tonight while having frozen yogurt I was accosted by a younger woman I had met a few months ago at a party at Rice. This event was annoying (as you will soon read) but pivotal. It served as fuel for a subject that I had intended to begin writing about for years. This subject is the identity and culture of mixed girls and/or biracial girls, and everyone that praises them. This piece is long overdue, and as a result will manifest itself in multiple parts.
*rewind back to that party at Rice a few months ago*
C, is/was a friend of a friend’s, but also under 21 (which is a huge red flag, that I dismissed … regrettably), but also very different looking. Why is ‘very different looking’ italicized? Well. Its because it is a phrase that people often have used towards/at me, as well as other people of mixed racial backgrounds, in a non-offensive way to ask/get at the real question, which is: What is your race? So. Lo and behold I’m at a party with another blasian chick who is very different looking. And as if the two minutes of explaining that my dad was never in the military aka he met my mom in a McDonald’s in Sacramento, California wasn’t taxing enough, another blasian girl soon appears. Coincidentally her name also begins with a C, and she wants to know how my parents met, and she wants to talk about how her’s met, and how ‘
COOL' it is that we are all blasian and how we all look so different. Thankfully I was very drunk and at some point drunkenly drifted away from this conversation.
*speed back up to frozen yogurt last night*
So, here goes C again, standing excitedly before me at Yogurtland. Its been months since the party at Rice and to my surprise I remembered her name (
I’m terrible with names). I was happy to greet her, but unfortunately she did not remember my name and instead replaced it with “Hey, she is also blasian!" To the left of her stood another blasian girl who I’d never met. I was perplexed. Before me, and my table of friends stood two young women-girls even-geeking out about meeting another blasian girl (me). Notably, to the left of me was my Japanese and Jewish best friend who imo looks very clearly biracial-but not blasian, and as a result was signed off. After throwing a little bit back and forth with these two girls (really just where they were from and what I was mixed with, plus what they were mixed with, plus the fact that they were best friends, which was affirmed by a a super cheeky blasian bff hug) they soon said "Well, it was nice meeting you guys, have a good night!" The girls left and my friends and I shared a collective eye-roll, as someone we were sitting with asked: Well who were those two pop-tarts? I’d never heard ‘pop-tart’ as an insult before, but it really epitomized what had just happened: two young, cheeky, characteristically flat girls had popped in, and popped out of our lives with their really nice smiles and polka dot shirts and bows and as sweet as they were, the experience was ultimately unfulfilling. After they left I was ridiculously irritated for the following reasons:
This chick was so caught up in being blasian that she didn’t meet a single person that I was sitting with, despite her saying “Well, it was nice meeting you guys…”
On top of being caught up in being blasian, she was generally rude/disrespectful. To come into a group of people and not introduce yourself after interrupting a conversation is in no way, shape, or form okay. Maybe if you were just saying hi, it could be excusable. But that isn’t what happened. Even if she had actually remembered my name, I would have made the effort to introduce her. But since she didn’t, it was clear that her interest wasn’t so much in me as much as it was in me as a blasian.
Rather than even acting like she knew my name, she skipped to the point. Or at least her point. Which was not that I was a nice person. Or a fun person. Or generally a person she had met at a party. But instead that I was “also blasian”, which is a lot like my above point. But. I really need you to understand how irritating this all was.
So why the rant?
To be honest, I been ranting about blasians and biracials for years now. I am not saying because I am one of them, I can talk about them. But I am saying that understanding this problem from the inside and talking against this really eerie culture surrounding #mixedgirls #blasian & #biracialbeauty is important.
This situation is twofold because as a society we tend to treat biracial people differently both contemporaneously, and historically-even if only for a moment as we ponder about what they are. In turn biracial people tend to be hyper-aware of how different they look. I’d go one step further and say that in some households, biracial children are even cultured to be aware of how different they look. At all times I am prepared for someone to ask me what it is I am mixed with. Or any of the following questions that are ultimately rooted in figuring out what I am: Where were you born? Where were your parents born? What language do you/your parents speak? You have interesting features, what is your background? You cannot be just Black, what are you? Typically when anyone of these questions come up, I answer it and add the actual answer they want. I don’t have time to sit around and explain how/why my mom speaks Spanish but I myself do not identify with being a Spanish person. I also don’t have time to act like being a person of mixed background is
COOL or some ‘best of both worlds’ type situation. Its not. Its not a lifestyle. Its not a privilege. Its not a big deal. There are thousands of biracials being born daily. Thousandsss!
What being biracial in this culture attempts to teach us is that being biracial in itself is an identity. And. Its not. Just because there is a ‘two or more races’ box on many forms [now] doesn’t mean that two or more races is a race in itself. What was so crazy about last night with the chick at the yogurt spot is she didn’t even remember why/how/which Asian ethnicity made me blasian. Just that I was. She tried guessing, and failed, and would have probably continued failing. People never guess filipino, and that’s a whole other narrative in itself.
So, 1125 words later, pt.1 concludes. I introduced a lot of key issues that will soon come back up as I continue on this series of post/rants. In my next post I will explain the ‘You’re Not a Unicorn’ title, which I didn’t even begin touching on here for a reason, but comes from a tweet I made years ago in regards to other biracials being shocked to meet other biracials.
*Unfortunately I felt that the most appropriate way to lure anyone in to considering this bigger issue was by posting a huge ass picture of Cassie.
**This post is not meant to be taken as an attack against C. I am sure she is a good person deep down inside, but I feel that our age difference, plus general lifestyle differences puts us into two different social groups. I’m sure if we were closer in age we could relate on things outside of being blasian. But. Alas, we aren’t closer in age.
On a whim I went out and watched Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela this evening at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston with bae. I had a feeling he would want to go, considering that he was the first person I ever knew explicitly interested in Fela and also because he’s Nigerian. I hit up my people in the MFAH, got two comp tickets, and made my way to the Brown Auditorium by 7pm. To my surprise, the place was packed! At about 3pm the movie had 250+ tickets available(which is why getting the comp tickets was easy) and by 7pm there were maybe only 15/20 scattered empty seats. This was a good sign, imo. Especially since only 30 minutes before the screening I was griping about how poorly promoted it was, hence going ‘on a whim’ vs. actually planning/anticipating. But the packed auditorium told a different story.
The preview for the film had me pretty confused. I wasn’t sure if I was watching a commentary about the Broadway production or if I was watching the actual Broadway production, or if I was just gonna have to watch Bill T. Jones talk for two hours straight…but about five minutes in it all became very clear.
If you have any kind of background about Fela Kuti, you can already begin to piece together some of the discussions surrounding his career, personal life, music, etc. that the film touched on. My first experience with Fela Kuti (outside of bae) was actually at/with Otabenga Jones and Associates. One of our homework assignments was to watch this video, and from then on I was like: “Okay, so Fela was a conscious musician." My understanding of him was very basic, I hate to admit. Post internship in Ghana, I had/have been listening to him a lot more, as a result of listening to plenty highlife and West African music in general but still am not as well versed as I am about to be after tonight.
Despite my current basic state, the film was still absolutely stunning. From flashing through all this dudes crazy album covers, to footage of his live shows, and also him in his drawers playing a saxophone, I never got bored or felt that what I was seeing was static or excusable. Even friends of mine who were very familiar with Fela aka actual Fela fans aka another Nigerian friend who was present and brought his father out to see the film, were totally feeling it. And the score/music they used throughout the film was just like. Wowww. I’m not actually going to talk about the music in the film but just type in 'Fela Kuti' on YouTube (or just click this entire hyperlink because I did the work for you).
Final thoughts/five points that I hope convince you to go see it:
All in all. Go see it. And if you don’t go see it, go learn more about this dude. And if you don’t wanna actually learn more … just go listen to a Fela track or two.
I love Seihor by Castro featuring D-Black just as much as the next person, and recently a friend in Adenta sent a slew of snaps of himself + his friends (after eight balls of banku and a bottle of vodka) going all the way in listening to it. Watching the snaps, and hearing the song made me miss dancing, made me miss Ghana, made me miss boys who could move their waist very fluidly in a non-sexual (but totally sexual) way.
But more importantly made me realize I was in Ghana during a very busy time. Between Ghana not getting past the group stage at the World Cup (and being defeated by the U.S., who they considered an easssssy opponent), Castro falling into the sea while trying to save his girlfriend then never being found and ultimately declared dead, and the petrol crisis (which is linked to their general economic crisis) my summer of 2014 in Ghana was “newsworthy”. I only realize how crazy newsworthy my summer was after the fact. While there, most major news was covered up and/or overshadowed by the temporal:
Ghana’s loss to the U.S. at the World Cup was disguised by a long drive from Taifa to Osu at 12am, the tie with Germany disguised by the beautifully large crowd at the Accra Mall and meeting Idriss Elba at The Republic and drinking a lot of Axe of in the mall parking lot, the loss to Portugal disguised by the free bottles of Club I was rewarded with from merely being an American and “winning” the first match.
Castro’s death … didn’t even “play out.” Quite frankly, I thought it was preposterous. The morning I went in to my internship at the museum and Auntie Judy was crying when Odo Pa came on I stared in disbelief. How could a musician fall off a jet ski into the water to save his girlfriend and literally never turn up again (to this day, he still has not turned up and he fell in on July 6th)? A few days later I was with friends having pizza-Jen sat with a slice in her hand and her phone in the other reading new developments about Castro’s disappearance via Twitter. My favorite rumor is/was that Castro has been taken in/down by Mami Wata. Some say he was kidnapped. Others that he was eaten by sharks. Notably, a number of people blamed his death/disappearnce on Kwesi Appiah … stating that had the Black Stars (Ghana’s Futbol team) advanced in the World Cup, Asamoah Gyan would not have been back in Ghana, and the entire jet ski incident could have been avoided completely. Now. This story was a total stretch to me. But, that’s besides the point.
As for the petrol crisis … I have nothing more to say other than the fact that I had the scariest cab ride in my life from Ridge to Osu as a direct result of the crisis. The cab I was in was filled with petrol mixed with water and the cab literally cut out/off every half mile. Ridge is not very far from Osu, but it probably took me an hour to get home this particular evening. If I really wanted to go in on the petrol crisis, and in turn the economic crisis, I’d have to start with corruption and bribing and exploitation and a slew of other factors that contribute to why capitalism is inherently racist. Which I’d rather not sit here and do.
Very long story short. Even though I can get a snap of friends in Adenta going in on Seihor, and even though I am quick to type “me tete” to a friend on WhatsApp … at the time of Castro’s death I took it in jest and writing through it low key is serving as an apology. RIP Castro, and every person who I ever laughed at in regards to his disappearance.
Tamale Dance Fever, November 22, 2013.
Photography by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE
As the world gets ready to “Come to the Center of the World” on August 23 & 24, we give you more images of the artists who will jamming with us at the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival 2014.
Strolling Goats in Accra with Chale Wote 2014, DJ Steloo